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No human remains found at site of Olympia fire

No human remains were found in the rubble of a former Olympia church destroyed by fire earlier this week, according to the Olympia Fire Department.

Deputy Fire Chief Greg Wright said that crews finished searching the Fourth Avenue site Friday, and no evidence of any additional victims was found. The search for remains began Wednesday after a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue dog detected human odor among the rubble.

Because the building at 911 Fourth Ave. E. — formerly the Foursquare Gospel Church, and more recently Capital City Studios — was built in 1939, there are concerns that the rubble may contain asbestos.

When the Olympia Fire Department responded to the blaze at 2:25 a.m. Monday, firefighters rescued a woman from the roof. A man who had also been on the roof jumped off and ran away, according to the Olympia Fire Department.

The man and woman were both treated later at Providence St. Peter Hospital.

According to the Olympia Police Department, the vacant building has been a popular sleeping place for transients for several years.

Wright said that the pile of rubble still poses a risk to public safety, so debris removal will continue until the site has been cleared. The city is covering the up-front costs, but the property owner will eventually be responsible for reimbursing the city.

Because the building was reduced to a pile of rubble, there’s a good chance that the cause of the fire will never be determined, Wright said.

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